Bad Day for NEOCH
Monday was a rough day for NEOCH in the media. The PD took a swipe at us with their Snarky column by Mike McIntyre. In case you missed it, the highlights of the column in the last two weeks were the revelation that a Kennedy crack was uttered in Cleveland to an "alleged Kennedy" and the movement of a test for cab drivers. It is basically news of who is coming and going in the world of politics and then some "witty" observations. This week he took a swipe at NEOCH with the "revelation" that a check to the winner of the poetry contest got lost. We definitely messed up, and should take better care of our clients. In our defense, we have been fighting to stay open for the last two months, so we were distracted. I just can't believe that a lost poet's check, a Kennedy joke, and the movement of a test for cab drivers are really deserving of the limited ink/space in the Plain Dealer.
I gave McIntyre all the information, and told him that we had the bookkeeper write a replacement check last week that we had already sent. I sent all the information to the agency in which the client formerly resided, but that organization still decided to kick us while we were down. We deserved our wrist slapped for not providing the best care to our clients, but this seemed excessive. I just wish that McIntyre had told us that Cimperman was trying to one up us. See, the Councilman is not very happy with the Coalition at this time. If McIntyre would have told me that Cimperman put in $200 in for the prize to double our prize, I might have put in more of my own money and got the pot up for our homeless poet. We could have started a bidding war with our homeless poet as the winner. I might have been able to force Joe into the position of giving the poet an additional $200 in order to make us look bad. He got off cheap with only having to contribute $200 in the attempt to publicize his dislike for NEOCH.
The second piece was Channel 19 on Monday night. I know, I know they are not real news, so no one pays attention. But this was actually not a hit from our own tabloid yellow journalists, but the comments from the tent city folks. They have set up a donation basket on the off ramp from I-90 to Broadway Ave. We have tried to work with these guys, but they are impossible. They will not accept any of our advise, and have decided to make a stand on a piece of property that is indefensible. I am no attorney, but I cannot see any legal case to make here. They are a safety hazard on state property and they are in clear violation of a number of laws. Anthony, the self proclaimed leader, has watched too many "Law and Order" episodes and wants to get in a court room to tell his case Sam Waterston style to a jury. He thinks that he will win a huge financial judgment for all the tent dwellers. I have no idea where this came from. On the news, Anthony had the nerve to say that "NEOCH was only trying to fund raise."
I have a long history with Anthony, but he has a lot of nerve saying we are only interested in fund raising. I mean, how is there any money in helping a tent city? Imagine the position that NEOCH now find itself--a social justice group fighting for the rights to live inappropriately in the rain and snow in the richest country in the world. It is a huge step down from fighting to preserve housing and provide livable wages to arguing over where a tent should be placed in a city that spends millions on stadiums, museums, and pubic buildings. When we were first drawn in it was a clear social justice problem. The Brown's Stadium guys did not want a fight or money and were not bothering anyone. Now, they are not making a political statement, or trying to live in peace, or create a community. They are just doing this out of vanity or some delusion of financial windfall. We had to wash our hands of this situation before things get bad. But, Anthony, we would never try to raise funds based on our defense of the placement of a tent.
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.